It’s that time of year! As snow starts falling throughout the state, everyone’s favorite holiday train will light up the tracks once again.
The 20th annual Canadian Pacific Holiday Train, also known as “North America’s longest rolling food bank”, will be visiting 13 Wisconsin communities this December 2018. The train will make a grand entrance at each station by transforming an ordinary cargo car into a stage overflowing with holiday spirit. This year, guests will be treated to dazzling holiday light shows and free live music, and are encouraged to bring along a donation of food to benefit local food pantries in their community.
Read on to find when the train will be passing through and our tips for holiday fun nearby, or discover more winter adventures with these Wisconsin Snow Trains.
CP Holiday Train Schedule: Stops in Wisconsin
Thursday, December 6, 2018
- Sturtevant - 7:20 PM
- Insider Tip: For a snack before the holiday train, stop by Lehmann’s Bakery for a taste of Wisconsin’s official state pastry, Kringle! Try any one (or two, or three…) of Lehmann’s 30+ delicious flavors.
- Milwaukee - 8:35 PM
- Insider Tip: Make it a full weekend of festive fun with a visit to Milwaukee’s Third Ward for some Christmas shopping. The historic neighborhood is home to plenty of shops, restaurants and cafes to duck into for a warm drink before heading to the tracks!
Friday, December 7, 2018
- Wauwatosa - 4:15 PM
- Insider Tip: Before checking out the train, bring the family to the Milwaukee County Zoo for an afternoon among giraffes, monkeys, penguins and more!
- Hartland - 5:45 PM
- Oconomowoc - 6:55 PM
- Insider Tip: Staying local for the weekend? On Sunday, visit the Oconomowoc Winter Farmer’s Market, where you’ll find everything from homemade baked goods and honey to fresh soups, salsas and more!
- Watertown - 7:55 PM
- Insider Tip: Swap your snow boots for skates with a visit to the Skate Express Family Roller Rink! Stop by in the afternoon for a few spins around the rink before the holiday train rolls in that evening.
- Columbus - 9:05 PM
- Insider Tip: Sample farm-fresh milk and homemade ice cream with a stop at Sassy Cow Creamery. See for yourself how Sassy Cow’s dairy products are crafted through their large observation windows, and grab a cone to-go on your way to the train.
Saturday, December 8, 2018
- Portage - 1:15 PM
- Insider Tip: Round out your afternoon of winter fun with a run down the tubing hills at Cascade Mountain. The perfect activity for the whole family, snow tubing requires no experience and can be enjoyed by children and adults of all ages. Don’t blink, or you just might miss your group flying down the 900’ chute!
- Wisconsin Dells - 2:45 PM
- Insider Tip: Spending some extra time in the Dells? Stay overnight at Great Wolf Lodge to experience Snowland, the Lodge’s annual holiday celebration. Spectacular decorations, visits with Santa, life-size gingerbread houses and more await to fill the family with holiday cheer (though you’ll have to get them off the waterslides first!)
- Mauston - 4:15 PM
- Insider Tip: While in Mauston, be sure to stop for a taste of a Dairy State specialty – cheese! You’ll find some of the best cheese around at Carr Valley Cheese, whose dairy delicacies have won hundreds of awards in cheese competitions around the world. Make like a true cheesehead and grab some curds for the road!
- Tomah - 5:30 PM
- Insider Tip: If the pre-holiday train excitement has your little ones squirming, take a break to run around at Wildcat Mountain State Park. Just south of Tomah, this park has miles of scenic trails ripe for exploring and offers stunning views down into the Kickapoo River Valley.
- Sparta - 6:40 PM
- Insider Tip: Future astronauts and NASA enthusiasts alike will delight in the Deke Slayton Memorial Space and Bicycle Museum, where Wisconsin’s only piece of real moon rock is on display. Children can try on an astronaut suit and explore artifacts from Sparta’s dual histories: as the birthplace of Astronaut Deke Slayton, and as the Bicycling Capital of America!
- LaCrosse - 8:45 PM
- Insider Tip: A holiday trip to La Crosse is not complete without a stop at Riverside Park’s Rotary Lights. More than two million lights blanket the trees, line the paths and illuminate the displays of this dazzling route, which can be enjoyed by foot or by car.